Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 14th through Monday January 21st.

The moon was at first quarter early on the morning of Monday the 14th and will reach full on the night of Sunday the 20th so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon all of this week. The full moon of January is known as the Old Moon, the Moon After Yule, and the Wolf Moon.

Two weeks ago, the Sun, Moon, and Earth were lined up for a partial solar eclipse and they are still aligned to create a total lunar eclipse this week. For Austin, the eclipse will start at 9:33 p.m. on Sunday the 20th. Totality comes at 10:41 p.m. and ends at 11:43 p.m. The whole eclipse ends at 12:50 a.m. on Monday the 21st.

This full moon also occurs just 15 hours before the moon is at its closest point to the earth in its orbit, known as perigee. However, the full moon in February will be within just 6 hours of perigee, so that will actually be our largest full moon of 2019.

Mars is still the only planet up in our early evening skies and is visible the southwest at sundown. Mars is setting at 11:35 p.m. this week.

Venus and Jupiter will be moving closer to one another in the morning skies all week. Venus is rising at 4:05 a.m. with Jupiter following at 4:40 a.m. on Monday the 14th. By Monday the 21st, Venus is rising at 4:10 a.m. with Jupiter following just 10 minutes later.

Saturn is rising at 6:35 a.m. at midweek as it continues to emerge from the sun's glare after conjunction at the beginning of the year.

Mercury is sinking back towards the sun and is up just 15 minutes before the sun by the end of the week.

Spring semester viewing on UT campus telescopes will begin in the latter half of January. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.